Monthly Archives: March 2015

After a Fashion by Jen Turano

Harriet Peabody enjoys working in a hat shop, designing unusual creations for high society ladies.   She dreams, however, of one day opening a dress shop for the working class, providing the height of fashion to other working ladies who perhaps cannot afford the steep prices of elite gowns. One day while making a hat delivery, Harriet encounters an odd situation that soon thrusts her into the company of Oliver Addleshaw, one of the most wealthy and powerful men in the United States. Determined to have a woman on his arm as he makes new business connections, Oliver enlists Harriet’s help for the next several weeks as he dines and negotiates with a variety of high society. As Harriet struggles to fit into Oliver’s life, she begins to realize there may be more to Oliver than first meets the eye. But the sudden appearance of Harriet’s relative soon puts her new friends and life in danger, threatening to upset all those she has come to care for deeply.

As with all novels by Jen Turano, this book instantly grabbed my attention with its hilarious and interesting heroine. Harriet has spunk, courage, and just the right amount of quirkiness to make the storyline enjoyable and greatly entertaining. Each character also possess a deeper level of personality, however, allowing me to delve into his or her many layers amongst truly amusing scenarios. The scenes spring to life with vivid descriptions and cause me to laugh aloud as I read the creative episodes in which Harriet often finds herself. The plot also has a perfect amount of complexity, with surprising twists and turns that give the novel depth despite its light tone. I absolutely loved this book and will not only read it again but certainly eagerly anticipate the next one! Most highly, highly recommended!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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Anna’s Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Anna Konig is reluctant to leave her comfortable life in her German Amish village but knows that religious freedom is much more tolerated in the New World, causing her to embark on a long journey across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Charming Nancy. In addition, she is the only one in the traveling group who can speak English, placing her in the position of liaison between her people and the rougher sailors accompanying them on the journey. It is due to this role that she first meets Bairn, the ship’s carpenter who would prefer not to associate with the Amish below deck. But he is drawn to Anna’s quiet strength and tenacity despite all the storms, illnesses, and trials while at sea. The rough voyage begins to bond them until Bairn makes a startling discovery about his past. Both he and Anna must learn the importance of family and faith as they strive to survive the long journey.

I am not usually one to read Amish fiction, but this book caught my attention and I thought to give it a try. I was immediately impressed with Suzanne Woods Fisher’s ability to craft a story with rich words that painted expressive scenes and allowed me to better understand the circumstances that brought some German Amish to America. The plot is truly interesting and contains substantial depth with its vivid descriptions, complex characters, and fascinating storyline. One critique is that I did not always like how quickly the author jumped from one character’s perspective to another; at times, it made it difficult to fully connect and identify with the individuals. Overall, however, this novel is interesting and recommended to those who enjoy Amish fiction or perhaps, like me, wish to give it a try.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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Deadly Echoes by Nancy Mehl

Sarah Miller enjoys teaching in the small town of Sanctuary, a place of relative peace and something she desperately needs after a tragedy from her childhood haunts her most of her life. She is also excited to reconnect with her sister and get to know her young niece better. However, when tragedy strikes again, Sarah is thrust back into her past, facing the memories and fears once more. Paul Gleason, the local sheriff, admires Sarah’s strong spirit and vows to help her in any way possible. In an attempt to uncover mysteries and questions unanswered, they dig into old secrets that prefer to be kept hidden. It is not long before decades of deceit come to light, but those who wish to cover the lies will do anything to stop Paul and Sarah from discovering the truth.

This novel has non-stop action that kept my attention from page one. The characters possess such an interesting and believable depth that I felt as if I was truly getting to know them on a richer level. The thought provoking themes of forgiveness and peace are well integrated into the fast-paced mystery and suspense of the novel. Sarah’s courage but also her realistic and humanistic insecurities create a story that has significant depth. The ending is surprising and not predictable, which makes the plot exciting and interesting. Although they do not need to be read consecutively, both the first novel in this series and this book are fantastic reads and I eagerly await the next in the series. A highly recommended modern thriller with a dash of seamlessly integrated romance!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review

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